Will it be third time lucky for Guerrilla’s sci-fi shooter, or just your average 3D FPS?
The Killzone community website is perfect for Killzone 3. It’s a beautiful site, with a nod to Bungie. net of course, that doubles up as a general Killzone resource and a repository for all of the in-game stats. Your achievements, progress, online status and the like are shown, linked up to those of your friends – Killzone 3’s support for clans will make this a real hub, and for the game’s offering of ranked practice games and leaderboards it’s essential. As far as taglines go, though, ‘Contribute to the Killzone franchise’ is one of the least exciting we’ve heard in a while.
Guerrilla Games doesn’t like the word ‘Halo’. We’ve just finished playing multiplayer in the first Killzone that has a shout of matching up to Bungie’s FPS work. “You must be a Killzone 2 veteran?” asks Guerrilla’s representative. We explain that our skills were mostly honed in the Chief’s company. Instant shutdown: “They are very different types of game, you know.” It’s not a bad series to be compared with, we reckon. Killzone 3’s classes and Halo: Reach’s new powers are subtle differentiations, but the broad brush strokes are the same: team deathmatch with plenty of guns and variants. Guerrilla’s multiplayer structure is carried over and supplemented from Killzone 2: 45 ranks to progress through, more than 100 ‘medals’ to be won, and a round-based ribbon system (for things such as a double kill in a match).
You’re constantly unlocking things, in other words, including the weapons and skills of your chosen ‘career’ – there are five, each with six weapons and six abilities, and as you earn the unlock points you can choose what you want first. The careers either integrate into the ‘normal’ game or change it: you can just have a character with a bit more health, or choose a jetpack to introduce a vertical axis. We picked medic. Forget altruism – this
guy’s got a personal minidrone. Because medics need to be doing non-combat things in the midst of battle, and often have their back turned, the minidrone floats around his body and shoots anything that gets close.
The power isn’t huge, but the distraction value is immense – both early warning system and irritant – and it’s a practical, distinctive tool.
So let’s put it to use. Multiplayer in Killzone 3 is as gorgeously detailed as singleplayer, and drooling at the wall textures and incidental scraps strewn around the place puts you at real risk of succumbing to a backstab. The persistence of Killzone 3’s multiplayer is significantly differentiated by its team features: a squad-specific HUD that shows the details of your team, such as class, and a rewards system that doles out team trinkets. The maps have all of the architectural quirks you’d expect for deathmatch, crammed with cubby holes, stretching across sniper-friendly roads – and they’re extremely layered, with inclines and falls everywhere. But we’re not here for the architecture.
Is that a mech suit over there? Minidrones are all well and good, but thoughts of healing are obscured by the barrel of an enormous cannon. Both teams get one of these beasts at their spawn point on certain maps, and we’re in that cockpit in a flash. The elevated view allows a much broader look over the battlefield, and strafing onrushing foes sees our kill count grow rapidly. When you add in the rockets that can be fired every few seconds, it seems almost unfair.